Connectivity problems affect more than half of UK broadband customers

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A report by consumer champion Which? Found that more than half of UK broadband customers (53%) experienced problems with their connection in the year to January 2023. The most common issues were slow speeds (38%), outages (24%) and connection dropouts (23%).

Of the UK’s biggest providers, Sky, Virgin Media and EE were found to be the worst offenders, with 68%, 65% and 63%, respectively, of their surveyed customers reporting problems with their connections.

Which? said the findings were “deeply concerning” and called telecom providers to “take action to improve their services”. The group also urged the government to “do more to protect consumers from poor broadband performance”.

Here are some of the reasons why broadband customers might experience problems with their connection:

  • Faulty or poor wiring in the home. If the wiring in your home is defective or poor, it can cause problems with your broadband connection. This is especially likely if your home is older or has had any recent renovations.
  •  Problems with the local exchange. The local business is where your broadband connection enters the telecoms network. If there are problems with the local sale, it can cause problems with your broadband connection.
  •  Network congestion. Multiple people use the same network simultaneously, which can lead to network congestion. This can cause problems with broadband speeds and reliability.
  •  Maintenance work. Telecom providers sometimes need to carry out maintenance work on their networks. This can cause temporary problems with broadband connections.
  •  Extreme weather conditions. Storms and floods can harm telecom infrastructure and disrupt broadband connections.

If you are experiencing problems with your broadband connection, the first step is to contact your provider. They will be able to investigate the issue and take steps to resolve it. You can also check the Ofcom website for information on your rights as a broadband customer.

Here are some tips to help you avoid broadband connection problems:

  • Ensure your router is in a central location and not obstructed by furniture or other objects.
  •  Keep your router’s firmware up to date.
  •  Use a wired connection whenever possible.
  •  Avoid using your broadband connection during peak times.
  •  If you are experiencing problems, restart your router and modem.
  •  Contact your provider if you still need help with issues.

Potential actions raised included better promotion and a more extensive range of cheaper social tariffs for the most vulnerable and financially strapped customers.

In February, Ofcom launched an investigation into the widespread industry practice of using mechanisms to annually increase customer bills by inflation, usually measured by either the consumer prices index or the retail prices index, plus an extra increase on top of between 3.4% and 3.9%.

“While some customers may be able to switch away to a better service and prices, many are trapped in contracts where they either have to accept above-inflation price hikes [each] spring or pay exorbitant exit fees to leave their contracts early,” Concha said. “It is critical that Ofcom’s review of inflation-linked mid-contract hikes results in changes that ensure customers are never trapped in this situation again.”

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Marta Lopez

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By Marta Lopez

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